By Norene Gilletz
This elegant chicken dish is marvelous for any special occasion, especially the Jewish High Holidays as it contains honey, wine, and dried fruit. This recipe is a triple blessing—it’s easy, can be doubled for a large crowd, and can be prepared in advance. It’s guaranteed to inspire rave reviews.
2 whole chickens (3 lb/1.4 kg each), cut into pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning (or a mixture of basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary)
6 to 8 cloves garlic (about 2 to 3 tablespoons minced)
3/4 to 1 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup pitted black olives
1/2 cup dry-packed, sun-dried tomatoes, halved or coarsely chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
2 bay leaves
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Rinse the chickens well and pat dry with paper towels. Trim the excess fat. Place the chickens in a large roasting pan sprayed with cooking spray. Season the chickens inside, outside, and under the skin with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic. Add the apricots, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes to the pan. (The dried apricots and sun-dried tomatoes will plump up during marinating and cooking.)
In a measuring cup, combine the balsamic vinegar, honey, and olive oil. Drizzle evenly over the chicken mixture; mix well so that the chicken is thoroughly coated. Pour the wine around the chicken and add the bay leaves. Cover the pan and refrigerate for several hours or for as long as 2 days.
When the chicken is marinated, remove from the refrigerator, uncover, and bake in a 350°F oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until done.
Remove the bay leaves and discard. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken mixture to a serving platter. Drizzle with some of the pan juices and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley. Place the remaining pan juices in a gravy bowl, skim off the fat, and serve alongside the chicken.
Yield: 10 to 12 servings.
Keeps for up to 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator; reheats well. Freezes well for up to 4 months.
• Cover Up? If you prefer to remove the skin, cover the skinless chicken while cooking so it won’t dry out.
• Keep A-Breast of the Times: Use chicken breasts to lower the calorie, fat, and cholesterol content. Use 10 to 12 breasts; remove the skin either before or after cooking. Cooking time will be about an hour for chicken breasts on the bone. Boneless, skinless breasts will take about 35 to 45 minutes. Cook covered to prevent the chicken from drying out. One serving (without skin) contains 263 calories, 7.1 g fat (1.4 g saturated), and 73 mg cholesterol.1/2 hours, basting often. When done, the skin will be golden and the juices will run clear when pierced.